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06.05.2004 Business & Finance

Workers can join trade unions of their choice

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Accra, May 6, GNA - Mr Kwasi Danso-Acheampong, Legal and Industrial Relations Officer of the Trades Union Congress, on Thursday urged employers not to put impediments in the ways of workers who decided to form or join trade unions of their choice.

He stated that the Labour Act gave two or more workers in the same organisation, every earthly right, to form a trade union to promote and protect their economic and social interests.

Mr Danso-Acheampong made the call in Accra at a day's sensitisation seminar, organised by the General Transport, Petroleum and Chemical Workers' Union (GTPCWU) of the Trades Union Congress on the new Labour Act, which came into force on March 31 this year.

The seminar, which was attended by about 40 members of the union took them through topics such as, "Overview of the Labour Act", "Employer/Union Relationship", "Institutions under the Act", and Dipsute Resolution under the Act".

Mr Danso-Acheampong admitted that even though the Act posed enormous challenges, they were surmountable.

He, therefore, stressed the need for unions to be more proactive, in order to prove equal to those challenges.

He reminded local unions that they had limited powers, and warned them not to do acts that would undermine their mother unions, and bring them in confrontation with the law.

The legal practitioner urged union leaders to organize their members to ensure industrial peace and harmony at workplaces.

On the termination of appointments, Mr Danso-Acheampong pointed out that the new Labour Act was explicit that employers had no legal right to terminate the appointments of their employees illegally. He explained that when this occurred, the Labour Commission was clothed with the power to re-instate workers who had suffered wrongful dismissals from their employers.

He warned employers to desist from unfair labour practices, such as discrimination and interference in union affairs.

On Collective Bargaining Agreements, Mr Danso-Acheampong warned that those documents should be carefully worded, because even though they were not prepared by legal experts, whenever any clause was in dispute, it called for legal interpretation to resolve the matter.

Mr Emmanuel Armstrong Mensah, General Secretary of GTPCWU, observed that the provisions of the new Labour Act called for genuine partnership between Management and Workers, so as to develop and manage labour and industrial relations in an effective manner.

Mr Mensah urged unionised workers to avoid the temptation of causing industrial unrests, which he said, could be termed as "illegal strikes".

Mr Roland Wobil Mosore, National Chairman of the union, called for cordial employer/employee relationship to ensure increased productivity.